FDA: More than 300 Vials with Dengue, Influenza Found in Storage Room

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-07_40bc94f1ac.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Hours after the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came under Congress' fire for lax storage and the exposure of lab workers to potentially lethal samples, officials released an update Wednesday on more than 300 vials of smallpox and dengue discovered in a storage unit. Biological samples were found in a cold storage area on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration labs on July 1, containing a total of 327 "carefully packaged" vials labeled with biological agents including influenza, Q fever, and Rickettsia.

FDA employees turned the items over to safety officials, who destroyed some and transported others to the CDC's high-containment facility. An investigation is continuing into the origin of the samples, but officials believe the vials were collected between 1946 and 1964.

There was no evidence that anyone was exposed to the agents, CDC representatives said in a statement. "Overlooking such a sample collection is clearly unacceptable," the agency said. "The FDA has already taken steps to ensure that similar material is not present in its other cold storage areas by initiating a thorough review of all common cold storage spaces."

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